banner image for ECAL 2009 European Conference on Artificial Life
Levels of Selection and Individuality in Evolution: Conceptual Issues and the Role of Artificial Life Models
Full Day Workshop at ECAL 2009 conference: 14th September, Budapest, Hungary


04-09-2009: Abstracts are now available via the schedule page.

28-08-2009: Our schedule is now arranged. Contributed abstracts will go online shortly.

27-07-2009: Decisions have been made and notifications have been sent out. Please get in touch if you submitted an abstract and have not yet heard from us.

22-07-2009: Minus van Baalen confirmed as invited speaker, in addition to Eörs Szathmáry.

13-07-2009: Workshop date is now confirmed as 14-09-2009.

9-07-2009: All submissions have now been sent out to the programme committee.

7-07-2009: Thanks to all those who have submitted extended abstracts. We have a wide range of topics that include philosophical, conceptual and modelling contributions — the day should be great! Decisions will follow when reviewing is complete.

Workshop Overview & Scope

Understanding how new levels of biological organisation, selection and individuality can arise are exciting and open challenges in both evolutionary biology and artificial life. In attempting to understand these issues we are forced to ask questions that challenge our existing preconceptions of evolutionary theory, such as what kinds of entities can natural selection act on, what are the properties that define an individual, and how can new levels of heredity arise? In this workshop we aim to provide a forum to discuss and debate these issues, drawing on the philosophical and modelling expertise of artificial life researchers in areas such as autonomy, emergence and self organisation.

The main focus of this workshop will be on discussion of important conceptual issues and the application of techniques and philosophy from artificial life in addressing these. Topics of interest include:

  • Multi-level selection
  • Evolution of cooperative behaviour
  • Prebiotic evolution and the origins of life
  • Philosophical issues in levels of selection and the major transitions
  • Comparisons of the utility of different types of model
  • Cultural evolution and other non-genetic sources of heredity
  • Inclusive fitness / kin selection
  • Species-level selection; ecosystem selection
  • How to recognise genuine higher-level selection
  • Niche construction
  • Self-organisation as a support for higher-level selection

Invited Speakers

Eörs Szathmáry (Collegium Budapest)
Minus van Baalen (Université Pierre et Marie Curie)

Organising Committee

Simon Powers
Rob Mills
Richard A. Watson
Alexandra Penn
Hywel Williams

Program Committee

John Bryden
Seth Bullock
Alastair Channon
James Dyke
Chrisantha Fernando
Andy Gardner
Philippe Huneman
Takashi Ikegami
Jan Kreft
Tom Lenaerts
Jason Noble
Samir Okasha
Joel Parker
Joel Peck
Denis Roze
Nobuto Takeuchi
Yannick Viossat
Bernhard Voelkl
Michael Wheeler

Important dates

Submission  22 June Monday 6 July 2009
Notification of Acceptance 13 July Monday 27 July 2009
Workshop  Monday 14th September 2009
(Full ECAL conference  13-16 September 2009)

Conference Website:

last updated: 07-09-2009